NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has ordered inspections of cranes at all its work sites after a crane collapse killed a construction worker Tuesday and injured four others.
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The MTA said Wednesday that all work on the site of the crane collapse has been suspended until further notice as officials from the Department of Buildings, OSHA, NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigate.
An inspection on the crane involved in Tuesday’s accident could not be completed on Jan. 10 because the rig was in operation at the time, the Associated Press reported. The follow-up inspection was due to be conducted this Thursday.
The 170-foot crane boom collapsed at a construction site of the MTA’s 7 line subway extension project at the corner of 34th Street and 11th Avenue on Tuesday evening when investigators say the crane cable snapped.
The top of the boom fell onto a concrete structure. Other pieces buckled under, crushing 30-year-old Michael Simmermeyer, who was working inside the pit 60 feet below street level, and injuring four other hardhats.
“I heard a snap, and I looked up, and I seen the boom of the crane starting to fold up and come down,” witness Dennis Ryncarz said.
A second crane at the scene was used to lower specially-trained FDNY rescuers into the pit to reach and remove the victims. Emergency crews pulled Simmermeyer from the pit, but he died on the way to the hospital.
Construction workers who worked with Simmermeyer remembered him as a “great guy” when they spoke Wednesday morning.
“One of the nicest guys I’ve ever worked with,” construction worker Joe Travers said.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
Standing at the site where the crane collapsed, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said Wednesday that the crane should have been inspected by city inspectors, but “state regulations presently preclude the city from having oversight at MTA construction sites, making it impossible for us to ensure safety regulations of the City of New York, making it impossible to make sure that those New York City safety regulations are upheld to the highest standard.”
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“I’ve been informed that city officials who were invited on to the site after the incident found conditions that they believe would have been violations of New York City rules — things like an unsecure perimeter, which would put workers walking over the pit of the work in real danger,” Quinn said.
Quinn added if city laws had been enforced, the MTA would have been required to submit an engineer’s report prior to using the crane.
The Port Authority has agreed to adhere to city regulations, Quinn said.
The MTA released a statement saying:
“The entire MTA family would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family of the worker who lost his life as a result of this tragic accident. We at the MTA grieve for this loss and vow to do everything we can to ensure that everyone working on projects to better the lives of all New Yorkers can do so as safely as possible.”
Ryncarz, who was unloading cars for this weekend’s auto show at the Javitz Center, said he heard the cable snap then saw the crane plummet nearly 200 feet.
“We jumped up on top of the wall and looked and we could see one guy underneath the boom,” he told CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider. “Everybody was trying to hover around him, but they couldn’t do nothing. They couldn’t lift the boom off of him.”
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